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Cordelia's Honor

Cordelia's Honor
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Published by Baen Books, 1999
Amazon.com: paperback
Amazon.ca: paperback
Amazon.co.uk: paperback
Shards of Honor
Amazon.com: hardcover, paperback
Amazon.ca: hardcover
Barrayar
Amazon.com: paperback
Amazon.ca: paperback
Amazon.co.uk: paperback
Highly recommended by: Greg Slade
[Cordelia's Honor]

Book Rating
Rated 3 (Highly Recommended) by: 7 people
Rated 2 (Recommended) by: 3 people
Rated 1 (Suggested) by: nobody
Rated 0 (Reviewed) by: nobody
Total Votes: 10 people
Average Rating: 2.70 (Highly Recommended)
Score: 2.70 (Highly Recommended)

[Best Novel] Originally published in two parts as Shards of Honor and Barrayar, Cordelia's Honor introduces the Vorkosigan family by starting with Cordelia Naismith. Cordelia is a smart, common-sensical, capable, female character. (Which, by itself, makes for a refreshing change from the sort of female character whose main job is to scream for help as she is threatened by a techno-dragon, so her knight in shining... er... spacesuit can ride to her rescue.) At the beginning of the book, she wakes up from being knocked out in a fall, to find a man holding her at gunpoint. Not just any man, though. This man is Lord Aral Vorkosigan, a captain from Barrayar, a neo-feudal, militaristic planetary empire. In fact, he led the conquest of Barrayar's neighbour Komarr, and is universally known as "The Butcher of Komarr." In short, he represents everything repugnant to Cordelia's egalitarian, peaceful home planet of Beta Colony. How Cordelia manages to escape, and thwart the planned Barrayaran invasion of one of Beta's neighbouring planets, makes for classic space opera. (Again, with the exception that the hero who manages all this is a heroine.)

Except that Bujold rises above space opera, and brings the genre to a whole new level. For one thing, her science is a good deal more careful than that of most space opera writers, who (apparently) can't be bothered to learn the difference between that which is currently technically infeasible, and that which is inherently impossible. For another thing, unlike much science fiction (not just space opera), which tends to be driven either by plot, or by (if you will) special effects, and places character in second place compared to evoking a sense of wonder, Bujold's stories are driven by character. You won't find her putting words into a character's mouth which don't belong there, simply because "somebody has to say that." In fact, a great deal of the wit in her books (and they are very witty) comes from that strong sense of character. Many of the funniest lines are not necessarily funny in and of themselves, but hilarious because they are said by the particular characters who say them. (At one point, Cordelia is asked where she has been, and replies simply, "Shopping." When you get to that point in the book, you will howl, but telling you Why it's so funny would a) take too long, and b) spoil a fairly major plot point.)

Barrayar won a Hugo Award for Best Novel.

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